How to become a Chief People Officer

Colleagues talking at a desk
author profile picture

by Nathan Baldwin on


Becoming a Chief People Officer is the pinnacle of most Human Resources careers. The role is often regarded as the highest possible HR position and reaching that level often requires years of skill, experience and knowledge. An increasing number of businesses across the world are investing heavily in their HR structure, this means the function of the CPO is starting to adapt to changing demands. So, in a constantly changing landscape, how do you become a CPO?

Step One: Finding the right career options

This might seem like a simple step to take but it can often be the most important in securing a CPO or equivalent position. Many company HR structures will facilitate career progression to a certain level i.e. HR Manager positions. This is why it is important to asses your career progression opportunities with your current employer. Your current organisation may simply be too small to facilitate a CPO position. But how do you find the right employer?

A great way to find the right employer with the right progression opportunities for you is to carry out your own background checks on potential employers, this can include finding out information about their company structure on their website, looking at their social media output and online reviews. If an employer’s brand message promotes clear leadership development opportunities and a commitment to improve employee experience, these are often good signs that they have a focus on human capital and will likely facilitate more senior HR positions.


Step Two: Getting the qualifications

Gaining the right professional qualifications can offer a faster route to becoming a CPO, they are also vital when applying for a new CPO role. The most common and sought-after qualification is a high level CIPD qualification, typically level 6 or level 7 qualifications are a standard requirement on most CPO job advertisements. Your employer may support you through your CIPD qualification, especially if they have a senior HR position available. It is always worth asking your employer about training programs and opportunities.


Step Three: Acquiring the right CPO skills

Understanding the main skills required to be a successful CPO before you apply for the job will prove invaluable when you finally secure the position. But what are the main skill sets employers look for when recruiting for CPO’s?

Business acumen: as a member of the leadership team CPO’s work closely with senior c-suite level employees, this includes the CEO and CFO to help integrate business-wide strategies. This means that as a CPO your experience and recommendations will likely influence the decisions of the CEO. To ensure these decisions will benefit the wider company, a CPO must acknowledge how those decisions will impact the business and have a contingency plan in place if something goes wrong.   

Talent management: this is a vital skill relating to the central HR function and can refer to the different ways in which a business attracts and retains employees. The CPO will typically strategize with the wider HR function and business to implement policies aimed at attracting and retaining talent. This will often include constantly reviewing the company EVP to ensure it is in-line with other market trends.

Emotional intelligence: the key function of the CPO role is centred around people. Interpersonal skills and an ability to understand how other people may be feeling is a crucial skill any senior HR professional should possess. Having an empathetic approach is key!

Influential: to drive company change at a cultural level a CPO must be a confident leader. The CPO will often be responsible from driving positive change through communicating with the wider business. A successful CPO will be communicative, confident and affirmative.

​Chief People Officer Salary Expectations

The average salary of a CPO can vary depending on the organisation, responsibilities, location etc, however they are often regarded as some of the highest-paid HR positions.

The estimated calculation of the average salary for CPO’s in the UK can be anywhere between £50,000 to £250,000.

If you are looking to progress within your HR career, our dedicated HR recruitment specialists can help find the right career move for you. Get in touch with us today on 0161 707 1516 or search HR jobs here.

Cx Jobs

Sheet Metal Operative

Our client are a multi-site UK aerospace supplier who have been established for over 30 years offering a wide range of component manufacturing and engineering services, from simple turned fittings, or complex, fabricated welded and sealed assemblies. Duties / Responsibilities:- The successful candidate will be responsible for the fabrication, hand adjustment and repair of components, Candidates will have knowledge of sheet metal techniques and have engineering experience. There is no requirement for welding. Experience / Qualifications:- - Experience within Automotive or Aerospace industries - Ability to read technical drawings and to use machine/hand/power tools is essential. - The client will welcome applications from candidates with automotive body work or similar experience. Benefits:- - The position is offered on a permanent, full time basis to fulfil long term contracts with customers. - Our client offer competitive rates of pay, on site parking - 31 days annual holiday after one year's full service - Enhanced employer pension contribution. - Current shift pattern is 37.5 hours per week Monday to Friday (days).

Production Assistants

We are currently looking for Production Assistants for a temporary role based In Hazel Grove, Stockport. This is a 3 month contract and we are looking for people to start week commencing the 7th of July. This will be working shifts -12 hours - on a 4 on 4 off shift basis. Applications are required from candidates who are willing to do night and day shifts. Please indicate your preference on application. Principal Duties Working as part of a team involved in the manufacture of semiconductor devices. This takes place in a high volume, high tech wafer fabrication area, where the raw materials are processed into finished "silicon chips". Following written instructions to operate sophisticated equipment and maintaining manual and computerised records to ensure the accurate processing of this valuable product. There are over 120 different steps involved from start to finish with each of them being critical to the success of the product. Successful candidates will be allocated to one of the following production areas: diffusion, photolithography, implant, evaporation or etch, where they would expect to become familiar with a wide range of duties in the area. The Company operates a structured training programme for new recruits. Person Specification - Essential experience/qualities: Ability to follow precise written instructions Ability to conform to strict procedures Ability to work as a team member Proven stable employment record

Industrial Cleaner

Our client in the Worksop area has a requirement for an Industrial Cleaner / Hygiene Operative to join the business on a temp to perm basis. Main DutiesAdhere to site health and safety requirementsShow a keen interest in achieving a high standard of cleanlinessBe driven and able to work on your own initiativeFlexible approach to work and working hoursUndertake high level cleaning on access equipment after trainingEnsure that the plant is always audit readySupport the production team in cleaning machinery Minimum Required QualificationsBasic Mathematics (GCSE Grade C or equivalent)Basic English (GCSE Grade C or equivalent) Preferred QualificationsPC LiterateDriven and Self Motivated Please note, full training will be provided for this role.

Project Engineering Manager

Our client is a major global player in the Nuclear industry. Operating on a UK Nuclear licensed site specialising in safe, cost effective and reliable uranium enrichment services based in Capenhurst, Chester. The company's global project portfolio exceeds €100 million annual CAPEX Group selected projects ranging from €50 million with major projects in excess of €500 million. Job PurposeThe purpose of this role is to ensure engineering resource and capability assigned to deliver capital projects are technically fit for purpose and meet the statutory requirements.Its remit stretches from project engineering and design strategies, through supplier selection and evaluation, to direct delivery of engineering/design scope for selected projects.The Project Engineering Manager combines solid generalist understanding of a wide range of engineering disciplines ensuring the management of multiple engineering disciplines which shall deliver integrated design solutions of a moderate to high complexity. The role forms part of Group Projects, Project Engineering team. The Project Engineering Manager plans and directs all design and technical resources working on specific projects.Manages the development, implementation, and evaluation of complex designs. Oversees product construction and testing in order to ensure completion of projects as effectively and efficiently as possible. MUST HAVEEducated to Degree level in a relevant engineering disciplineMinimum 5 years full design project lifecycle experienceDemonstrable track record in successful project delivery involving Technology internationally in a responsible leadership roleMinimum 3 years management of multi-discipline teams

Skills and qualifications needed for a career in cyber security